How To Freeze Food To Save Money

I have spent the last 3 years perfecting the food shop. We have now managed to get our average weekly food shop down to £10 per week… feeding a family of 5! You can read more about that here.

The big food shop

We hit the supermarket at a specific time for each store, when we know that the bargains come out. Our local store is at 6pm, and we know that we need to get there for bang on 6 (if not earlier!). Most of the food that we buy has been reduced down to 10% of its original price. Bread often costing around 10p, vegetables and fruit somewhere around the £12p-20p range. We grab as much as we can and take it home to prep and freeze.

Because we don’t write meals plans before buying our food, we have to go to the shops with a completely open mind, and happy to eat whatever is on offer at the time! It does take some effort to live this way, but the rewards are huge and it means that we get to eat healthy delicious meal for super cheap.

Prepping food for the freezer

Most food can be frozen, and if it can’t we eat it as quickly as possible. Food for the freezer should be prepared and frozen as soon as you get home, to keep it fresh. Food that cannot be frozen can safely be eaten a day or 2 after it’s best before date. I completely ignore the best before dates on fruit and veg, because if it looks/smells/feels good then I’ll just eat it anyway. Common sense tells me when fruit and vegetables are still good to eat.

Most food doesn’t take much effort to freeze. Bread and milk can be just thrown into the freezer as they are. Donuts, I like to take out of the paper bags and put into plastic bags, as it stops them from going stale as they defrost.

When we tackle the shops, I like to set aside an hour or two to get the food prepped for storing. It can be fun to get the kids to help too as it gets them learning basic food preparation skills, and they have fun too. My daughter loves cutting up beans for the freezer.

Food that can be thrown straight into the freezer (It’s handy to bag them first though!)

  • bread
  • milk
  • berries, such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries etc
  • yoghurts- Frubes are great to eat as ice pops too!
  • margarine
  • fresh pizza
  • cakes and donuts
  • grapes- work well as ice cubes as they don’t water down drinks as they thaw.
  • grated cheese
  • cuts of meat
  • pies
  • Ready made soup
  • fresh pesto
  • cooked rice
  • cherry tomatoes- great for throwing into stews, not so great for sandwiches!

Foods that need peeling and chopping for freezing:

  • Mushrooms
  • Apples
  • herbs
  • onions
  • rhubarb
  • bananas- these can be frozen in their skin but chopped is easy for smoothies!
  • carrots
  • runner, broad, French and dwarf beans
  • parsnips
  • cabbage
  • peppers
  • potatoes- I freeze these for the main purpose of roasting. Boil for 2 minutes ONLY before freezing.

Some vegetables loose their flavour and colour when frozen, so blanching is often a good idea. If in doubt, a quick Google will help! Salad foods such as lettuce and cucumber cannot be frozen as they go slimy when thawed. Vegetables can all be cooked straight from frozen.

This is just a list of some of my favourite foods to freeze. What are yours?

 

 

 

Author: Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 young daughters, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting brands.

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